Friday, December 13, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: UMBRELLA poem for Poetry Friday

book I'd like to give to
each and every one of you!
Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit lovely Liz Steinglass for Roundup. December is certainly full of the hustlebustle, isn't it? I love this month's book lists and Twitter haiku and Christmas music and greeting cards and gatherings and year-end wrap-ups...

I myself put out a new edition of Irene's Adventures in Ink e-newsletter (The Happy Report!) which includes 5 Unexpected Things I've Learned in a Decade as a Children's Book Creator... and I've been clearing the nightstand to make way for the Christmas load that sure to come my way from loved ones who know my particular habits and passions... and I've played two holiday concerts (one with a community orchestra, another with a small group of cellists) and will play another concert tomorrow with my cello choir... and I've been working furiously on a new historical fiction project that has so many moving parts that my mind is churning 24/7!
And it's all good -- wonderful, in fact. Because today for my Butterfly Hours project (which is fast coming to an end), I wrote a poem in the voice of an umbrella. Read on!

 For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above.

This (final!) month's prompts are train, trophy, typewriter, umbrella, Vietnam, war, washing machine, widow, window.

Dykes Family in Thailand
I often share during school visits this picture of my family of origin and wee me with the pink pants, purple shirt, and yellow umbrella. Only, we didn't call it an umbrella when we were in Thailand. We called it a parasol.

Umbrella's Complaint

My human calls
me parasol

but I don't like that name
at all –

it's too sunny,
                too sweet.

Give me wind,
give me sleet!

Call me umbrella

and if you're a storm,
I can't wait for us to meet!

- Irene Latham


  1. Here's to the hardworking umbrella! I have sleet to give! I love when you inhabit an inanimate object and make it feel like a friend Thank you for this book recommendation too. xx

  2. I love mask poems and I love your umbrella that wants a good pelting of sleet!

  3. I like your umbrella's attitude, fun poem. Also love the family pic -- three parasols in different colors!

  4. Oh that parasol...a sunbrella!! And a great little word, but sturdy umbrella (well if not a huge windstorm) deserves its awards. I read your Happy Report and I am excited by all that is ahead for you. I will look for you here, and am inspired by your Artspeak poems. I know what you mean about choosing your time usage carefully. Inspired by your work and writing, Irene. Highlights so so much to soak up from you and Charles. So glad to count you a poetry friend! And thanks for all of your kindnesses. Janet Clare F.

  5. I love your umbrella's words. And thanks so much for your consistent encouragement on my blog. It means a lot to me. <3

  6. It does depend on point of view, doesn't it? I love the difference a 'name' makes! Chances are the weather factors in, and now I'm thinking of William Carlos Williams. I know you are busy, congratulations on the cello concerts. That's wonderful! And best wishes in that new project. Now I'm curious!

  7. I love the word parasol, and your poem is a perfect celebration!

  8. I love that it's all good. I'm applauding from the back row -- enjoying your busy time as a children's book creator. Keep up the good work...keep writing what umbrellas what to tell us.

  9. What a wonderful poem - so much voice and personality. (That's a strong-willed little umbrella.) Parasol's are for strolling on sunny days, methinks. They wouldn't want to get their toes wet. xx

  10. The minute I read your newsletter, I put that book on reserve!

    Silly umbrella! Don't wish away the gentle rains for the sting of sleet!

  11. I love your umbrella's personality, though personally I prefer sun to sleet. :-)
    How interesting that the Healing the Divide anthology you recommend has a preface by Ted Kooser, who I mentione in my post this week. I'll have to check it out.

  12. I need a plucky umbrella like that one--we might have need of it with some sleet early in the week. Enjoy all those concerts!

  13. When the weather is rain or sleet, give me a sturdy umbrella, please!

  14. When I was little I enjoyed walking in the rain with or without an umbrella, and I liked storms too–so I love the voice of your feisty umbrella Irene! I would love hearing some of your music making sometime–enjoy the next performance, thanks, xo.


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